So you want to make changes to your lifestyle to create healthier habits.
But how does that change really happen anyway?
While you might be hoping that there will be a magic moment where you will start feeling motivated and excited all the time because you feel like you’ve “arrived” at the perfect diet and fitness level, the truth is change is a process that requires daily practice rooted in action.
That means: creating change comes only when you consistently choose and take different actions over time.
What that also means is that you might not *always* feel like taking those actions day in and day out, especially after the novelty of a new habit has worn out.
If this resonates, continue reading to tap into the importance of taking daily action towards your goals, and how to tap into small actions (that take 5 minutes or less) to help you boost your motivation and ability to stay committed to the changes that will help you reach your goals.
CHANGE CAN BE HARD, AND THAT’S NORMAL
Taking action towards change can be a place where many get stuck.
That is because change is hard and resistance to change can come with deep roots, some that are even meant to protect us.
Change can be difficult because…
- It can threaten our sense of autonomy, freedom, and desire to “do whatever we want”
- It can force us to confront things in our lives we’d rather ignore
- It disrupts the status quo and our familiar routines
- It asks us to change and learn new skills which might be intimidating to us
- It can challenge our current beliefs and identity when we attempt to do things differently than we always have or that those around us do
You might feel this manifest in your own life by….
- Feeling more comfortable in the planning, researching, learning, and dreaming phase ABOUT the actions you want to take rather than putting them into actual action
- Being nervous about failing, being embarrassed, or not being able to be perfect from the start
- Being afraid of what you will have to sacrifice or give up something you love to get what you want
- Being afraid that you will be judged for trying to change by those around you for acting differently than you have in the past
- Having “bad habits” that are actually serving you really well as short term band-aids, but not in the long-term, that would naturally leave you feeling vulnerable when changed
As you can see, there are many reasons you might be experiencing resistance to change.
And guess what, that’s okay!
TAKING ACTION IS THE KEY TO CREATING CHANGE
To get better at taking different actions you have to practice.
Not only does taking action create change, it’s also a necessary process for us to understand how we work.
By taking actions, no matter how imperfect, we gather data, gain self-awareness, and learn how we and our bodies work. Stepping up and taking over the steering wheel is also essential because it empowers you to take ownership over YOUR process.
Even a little action done consistently, even if you do it imperfectly, can lead to big change and many ah-ha moments.
Often we want to do self-analysis about whether we CAN or CANNOT do something BEFORE we try it.
Likewise, we might tell ourselves we DO or DO NOT like something BEFORE we try it.
But if you actually want to gain true insight into what works and doesn’t work for you in THIS moment of your life you have to actually take action.
And that doesn’t mean trying something just once.
It means giving it a fair and consistent shot before redirecting your efforts after you’ve collected a little bit more data.
STOP WAITING FOR MOTIVATION TO FIND YOU
So how do you get yourself to act in the first place?
This is where the magical word MOTIVATION comes to play.
If you already felt inspired and motivated to get your workout in every day, you’d probably just do it and we wouldn’t even be having this conversation.
But it’s not often not that simple.
Motivation fluctuates and waxes and wanes.
And even if you LOVE to do something, for example your pilates workout, and you KNOW it makes you feel great afterwards, it doesn’t always mean it is easy to get started.
THE 5 MINUTE RULE: ACTION OFTEN COMES BEFORE MOTIVATION
If you are waiting for motivation to come along BEFORE you get your workout started, I hate to break it to you but it’s probably not just going to happen out of nowhere.
In fact, motivation often comes AFTER action.
The good news is that taking even the tiniest action (that’s where the 5 minute rule comes in) can often help you start to help get the ball rolling by completing a smaller task that can build momentum towards achieving a much bigger goal.
USE THE 5 MINUTE RULE TO GET YOURSELF GOING
The five minute rule is incredibly simple. It helps get you moving into action by taking a bite-sized action that takes 5 minutes or less.
For example, in the case of your workout you could get things going with simple actions such as…
- Standing up from your desk
- Putting on your gym shoes
- Filling up your water bottle
- Putting your headphones in and turning on your favorite workout playlist
- Committing to just moving for 5 minutes and see how you feel afterward
These small actions can create BIG momentum and be truly helpful in helping you push through the first few moments of resistance.
Once you’ve put yourself into motion, well, that’s when the good stuff comes into play that feeds into motivation.
- Proof that you are Capable
Over time, this really adds up.
BREAK UP WITH PERFECT BUT SET YOURSELF UP FOR SUCCESS
The good news is, to see results in being healthier you don’t have to be PERFECT.
What you DO need to do is to practice showing up consistently to taking imperfect action over time, even when motivation is nowhere to be found.
To do this, you need to set yourself up for success.
Here are a few ways to set yourself up for SUCCESSFULLY TAKING ACTION that have nothing do with MOTIVATION…
TIPS TO SET YOURSELF UP FOR SUCCESS IN TAKING ACTION AND CREATING CHANGE
- Identify exactly what your goal is and why it’s important to you.
- Advocate for what you need when it comes to the time you will need to devote to getting to that goal – have a conversation with your family, block out time on your work calendar, say no to an obligation that is not important to you
- Be Realistic – Change doesn’t need to come from huge sweeping actions. Small actions can be just as powerful. Chunk actions down into 5 minute goals you can accomplish
- Plan, Plan, Plan – Use a calendar, make a habit checklist, visualize your goals on paper.
- Get Really Good at Anticipating Obstacles – Stuff happens. How will you overcome it when it happens? If you REALLY wanted to reach a goal, you’d figure out a way. Get creative and make a plan and remember SOMETHING is better than NOTHING, always.
- Get comfortable with Challenges – Taking action and creating change is not easy! Getting comfortable with challenge and practicing resiliency and a growth mindset with help you stay connected to your goals even when things didn’t go as planned
I’d love to hear what you feel like your biggest obstacles to change are? What strategies discussed could help you along the way in taking action towards your goals?